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8 Years since SS1

Posted by: Rob Goldsmith - Fri Jun 22, 2012 7:26 am
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8 Years since SS1 
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Post 8 Years since SS1   Posted on: Fri Jun 22, 2012 7:26 am
That went fast!!!

I really thought there would have been more progress in 8 years!

Best pick up the pace now :)

Rob

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Post Re: 8 Years since SS1   Posted on: Sat Jun 23, 2012 5:22 am
Interesting observation! Has it really been that long? wow.
I think we've seen tons of progress: how about Armadillo? They built the lander for NASA (Morpheus), the Stig rockets, the SuperMods, and more. SpaceX went to the ISS for Pete's sake. Masten got their rockets flying during this time. Dreamchaser has an aerodynamic skeleton. What else would you like to have seen?

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Post Re: 8 Years since SS1   Posted on: Sat Jun 23, 2012 4:48 pm
It didn't help that they chose to completely redesign and build a larger version that only shared the general configuration of the X-prize winner.


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Post Re: 8 Years since SS1   Posted on: Mon Jun 25, 2012 10:57 am
I genuinely thought there would have been at least 1 more private people carrying craft in space

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Post Re: 8 Years since SS1   Posted on: Mon Jul 23, 2012 2:29 pm
There still really isn't even one. SS2 is still "in development" and so no more than any of the vapor-ware vehicles from a business perspective. VG hasn't carried a single paying customer yet.

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Post Re: 8 Years since SS1   Posted on: Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:33 pm
From a business perspective, completing many stages of a plan successfully, and taking down payments on many rides, puts Virgin Galactic in a completely different league from vaporware.

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Post Re: 8 Years since SS1   Posted on: Mon Jul 23, 2012 9:02 pm
Nope because it hasn't made a single dollar yet. A deposit is a debt. It goes into accounts payable until the service has been rendered.

All VG has done so far is spend a lot of Sir Branson's money.


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Post Re: 8 Years since SS1   Posted on: Tue Jul 24, 2012 1:41 am
James, I think we may be talking about different things. I am talking about a business perspective of the ability to raise funds and survive as a business. Perhaps you are talking about making a profit. The fact is, many businesses who have operated for years temporarily operate at a loss, but the company survives.

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Post Re: 8 Years since SS1   Posted on: Tue Jul 24, 2012 2:15 am
I am talking about making ANY revenues. At all. 8 years is not temporary. 8 years is a rich man's dabbling or a PR write off.


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Post Re: 8 Years since SS1   Posted on: Tue Jul 24, 2012 2:31 am
The idea that you can start a company from scratch, let alone a new industry, in a short period of time, no matter how much money you have, is false. The goal of a company is first survival, and then profits. Richard Branson is an extremely competent businessman - don't let appearances fool you. He would not waste 8 years on a business that didn't have a chance of success. Virgin Galactic is a business, and a new industry. It is almost ready to start operations. That puts it in a completely different class than vaporware. Of course, it may fail, but that can happen to any company, even a company that has been around for years.
I think that this is counter intuitive, because people see a business, and they judge it based on its profit making. But that is misleading - it is the business' potential, and chance, to make a profit that is important.

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Post Re: 8 Years since SS1   Posted on: Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:17 am
JamesG wrote:
I am talking about making ANY revenues. At all. 8 years is not temporary. 8 years is a rich man's dabbling or a PR write off.


8 years is about what it took for SpaceX to get anywhere - they made no money up to that point, and spent a lot more than VG. Is SpaceX a rich man's dabblings or a PR write off? In my opinion, no.


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Post Re: 8 Years since SS1   Posted on: Tue Jul 24, 2012 10:52 am
It could be argued that it is the former. :wink:

SpaceX's goals are a lot more ambitious and technically difficult than VG. VG had the opportunity to go into actual service with SS1, but elected not to.


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Post Re: 8 Years since SS1   Posted on: Tue Jul 24, 2012 2:35 pm
Actually, I think in many ways, Virgin Galactic has it harder than SpaceX. SpaceX is essentially using the same technology that has been used in rockets up until now, and can therefore rely on people who have spent years designing rockets like the falcon series. VG using a completely new technology, and there is no one expert in it to rely on, simply because it has never been done before. That means that they have to go a lot more carefully, because they have no idea where the next problem might come from.

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Post Re: 8 Years since SS1   Posted on: Sun Jul 29, 2012 11:48 am
On the other hand, they could have gone with a more conventional liquid rocket engine instead of a hybrid, maybe even bought it off the shelf. That would have sped things up a lot.

I'm not sure that years is the right unit to measure the amount of effort put into these things actually, perhaps dollars is a better metric. Compare it to fusion research, which always seems to be 30 years away and never get any closer. We should have running fusion plants by now! Were those physicists lying? At least wildly optimistic, you'd say, until you see this graph. We're not 30-odd years away from fusion power, we're 60 billion dollars away. Look at the dollars vs. achievements for the various newspace companies and the picture starts to look a lot more reasonable.

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Post Re: 8 Years since SS1   Posted on: Sun Jul 29, 2012 1:53 pm
I disagree, sometimes just throwing money at something doesn't help. A bigger influence is the motivation and institutional structure of the organization.

Cynically, the scientists and research companies exist to do basic research and well paid and comfortable in their university setting/careers. They have no incentive to actually complete a commercializable technology. Doing so would mean that they would have to find something else to do and the funding to go with it.

Pharma and biotech companies produce a steady stream of new products because they are structured to reward full development because the company only makes money if they can sell them.


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